Feeds

EU Commission promises alternative data retention plan

But why is it needed?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Build a business case: developing custom apps

The European Commission says it will have a draft directive for data retention laws in Europe on the table by September, but early versions are already circulating among interested parties.

Lobby group European Digital Rights (EDRi), says that according to a draft it has seen, companies will be required to retain telephone data for one year, and internet data for just six months. Both periods are significantly lower than the three years suggested in the proposal, known as a draft Framework Decision, put forward by the UK, with backing from Ireland, Sweden and France.

The European Commission's rival proposal would need the backing of the European Parliament, and the Council of ministers if it is to become law, while the draft Framework Decision only needs the approval of Council of Ministers. However, it has been declared illegal, and MEPs have threatened to take Ministers to the European Courts of Justice, if they continue to push the draft through.

European Commission spokesman Friso Roscam Abbing said that the Commission's proposal would balance the need for data protection with the provision of adequate powers for law enforcement agencies to trace and track communications.

The proposals, which ministers argue will help police track down terrorists after attacks like the ones in Madrid and London, have been described by critics as being a case of putting the solution before the problem. After all, in London, all four suspected (failed) bombers have been apprehended without the need for these data retention laws. Similarly in Madrid, the police investigation did not appear to be hampered by lack of mobile phone data.

Critics, including many MEPs, argue that the proposals from the UK et al. could effectively force companies to breach existing European data protection laws. These state that data may only be retained for as long as is neccessary, except in unusual circumstances.

Indeed, none of the parties behind the draft Framework Decision has yet offered an explanation of why it would be necessary to retain the data. Indeed, Charles Clarke has acknowledged in a speech to MEPs that no case has yet been made for the laws but urged the parliament to press ahead with them regardless. ®

Related stories

UK ministers push for data retention
Europe's data retention laws: dead or alive?
MEPs to vote on 'invasive' data retention plans

A new approach to endpoint data protection

More from The Register

next story
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Nintend-OH NO! Sorry, Mario – your profits are in another castle
Red-hatted mascot, red-colored logo, red-stained finance books
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London
Plus: Almost NOBODY uses pay-by-bonk on buses - Visa
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?